The village of Monteruga is an abandoned rural hamlet in Salento built during fascist-era Italy in the early 1930s. Developed around a farm by the same name, it was once home to some 800 residents and boasted a school, church, post office, central square, wine factory, impressive bread oven, oil mill, tobacco store, and farmers’ houses.
After World War II, as farms were privatized and people began moving toward cities, the village of Monteruga saw a slow decline. It was deserted by the 1980s and experienced a long period of abandonment, which led it to become a place of interest for satanic cults. The local church was deconsecrated and over the years various rites and dark rituals were carried out inside it.
But Monteruga may get a new life yet. Recently the village was purchased by an Italian entrepreneur who entrusted the control and custody of the entire property to an armed guard who lives in one of the area’s newly restored structures. What used to be the central square of the village is today carpeted with grass and flowers and inhabited by different animals such as horses, geese, rabbits, goats, chickens, peacocks, dogs, and cats that all live together in harmony.
Still, eerie signs of the place’s former life can still be seen throughout the village. In the old school, there are still benches and blackboards with chalk writing from the 1940s. And inside the former homes of workers, you can find traces of furnishings and clothes leftover from a bygone era.
Know Before You Go
This is private property that can only be accessed with permission from the guard, who may choose to accompany you on a short visit (as well as delighting you with many facts and historical curiosities of this place), or let you walk independently through the structures (avoiding to step in because most of them are at risk of collapse!). Do not try to visit without permission.